GRAHAM TURNER: All marriages have their ups and downs

A personal view
A personal view
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It’s a match made in heaven – two councils come together to share staff and services and save taxpayers millions of pounds.

With a joint chief executive and shared management team, all seems to be going swimmingly for the like-minded St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District councils.

But, of course, all relationships have their ups and downs and last week we saw the slightest of tensions emerging.

Some members of the councils’ overview and scrutiny committees were unhappy at a document outlining shared future priorities for the two authorities.

‘Woolly bland platitudes’ was Cllr Michael Jefferys description, while Cllr Jim Thorndyke thought some of the statements had ‘absolutely no meaning’.

The document was sent back for more ‘meat’ to be added to the bones.

The minor hiccup got me thinking about what would happen if the political complexion of one of the authorities lurched one way or the other.

At the moment, they are very similar, but could shared services and management work if the the two councils had completely different priorities?

I know it’s highly unlikely, but it could be a very messy and expensive divorce.

Ian Gallin, the joint chief executive, last week kindly gave us a glimpse into his very busy working life and described how a car journey to a meeting in Lowestoft with the Leaders of the two councils gave them an invaluable opportunity to discuss priorities and approach to some key issues.

I couldn’t help but imagine what that journey would be like if the back seat was occupied by Leaders with completely opposing political views – frosty, I should think.

-- The talk in the newsroom on Monday morning was dominated by the storm which swept across the region on Saturday, but I’m afraid I missed that particular drama.

Instead, I was at the theatre in Cambridge watching drama of a different kind and, given that the play made a big fuss about opening a pair of French doors on the set, thought the sounds of thunder and rain were simply sound effects.

It wasn’t until after the final curtain that we emerged to discover deep puddles, piles of hailstones and some very bedraggled-looking Saturday shoppers.